You’ve worked hard to get the muscular body you’ve always wanted—and now it’s time to show it off. By investing in a few key wardrobe staples that you can mix and match with things you already own, you can easily take your look to the next level without breaking the bank.
Classic khakis with pleats and cuffs are a bit outdated—but a neutral-colored twill pant is a must, says Dina Scherer, the owner of Modnitsa Styling. “It gives you a put-together, casual look that easily transitions from the office to a Saturday night out,” Scherer says.
Fit tip: For a modern look, and some much-needed room for built glutes and quads, Scherer suggests buying a lightweight pant with a bit of stretch.
These days, most people use their iPhone to tell time, so you may wonder why a watch is a must-buy. “Most men don’t wear many accessories, but a watch allows a man to show off his style and personality,” Scherer says. “No matter the price point, it will still be the one accessory to pull together looks in a cohesive and polished way.”
Fit tip: “Make sure the face of the watch is proportional to the size and frame of your body,” says Annette Harris, image consultant and personal stylist based in Washington, D.C. “And be sure to try multiple colors and metals to find one that complements your skin tone.”
If you’re only going to own one blazer, make it a blue one made from a year-round fabric like lightweight wool or a wool blend. “This piece is a classic and can be dressed up or down, and go from day to dinner,” Harris notes. Throw it on with a pair of jeans and a brown leather belt and shoes, or dress it up with beige pants and a collared shirt.
Fit tip: For the best fit, Harris says to look for a blazer that’s free of shoulder padding and slim lapels. Both will only make you look bigger—and not in a flattering way. “The blazer should fit comfortably across the shoulders and chest area, and ideally has side or double vents, Harris says. “And most important, let a good tailor take in any extra fabric. For muscular guys, this will likely be in the torso area.”
“There’s nothing sexier than a man in a pair of nice-fitting, dark denim jeans,” says Harris, and Scherer agrees: “I think having a great pair of dark denim jeans is an absolute must. They wear well with everything from basic tees to blazers, giving a man a versatility of looks.”
Fit tip: Scherer suggests looking for straight leg or athletic slim-fit styles. “Something slightly fitted in the hips and straighter through the legs typically looks clean and classic, and will fit a muscular man.” Harris agrees, adding that styles made with a hint of spandex will likely look and feel the best. “This fabric will help contour muscular legs and ensure that your pants don’t look too baggy.”
If you have the right pair, you can wear comfortable kicks with everything from jeans and chinos to a full suit. “A pair of casual, trendy kicks will make almost any outfit look more modern and cool,” says Harris. “You can’t go wrong with a basic white or gray pair of athleisure urban sneakers,” Scherer adds.
Fit tip: Feet swell as the day progresses, and they also tend to expand after long periods of walking or standing. To ensure your sneakers are the proper size, shop at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest.
Whether it’s fall, spring, or summer, a lightweight coat can instantly make you look more pulled together. “A bomber jacket with a rounded collar looks fantastic on muscular guys, and typically has more room due to the boxy shape of the jacket,” says Scherer. Plus, it’s cropped and tapered, so it will really show off your broad shoulders and narrow waist. Harris agrees, adding that a trench coat is another modern staple that works for muscular men.
Fit Tip: “For bomber jackets, the more unstructured and relaxed the better,” Harris says. If you decide to invest in a trench, look for a double-breasted style. “This offers more breadth, and still looks classic and elegant,” Harris notes.
There are gym shirts, and then there are tees worthy of a night out. As an athletic guy, you should own both. “A quality, well-fitting V-neck tee is definitely a must-have in the modern man’s wardrobe,” Harris says. “It’s versatile and perfect for the man who wants to dress stylishly but not seem like he’s trying too hard.” She suggests picking one up in white, and other neutral colors like black and gray. Throw it on with jeans or shorts for a casual look, or dress it up a bit with neutral-colored twill pants, with or without a blazer.
Fit tip: The softer and stretchier the fabric, the better a T-shirt will fit a muscular man, Scherer says. Look for cotton blends and jersey knits with a zigzag stitching pattern around the edges. “This typically means the seams are built to last and won’t stretch out against bulging muscles,” Scherer explains.
“A white button-down is a classic, and one that always makes a suit—or even a pair of jeans—look more pulled-together and professional,” says Scherer. “Every man should have at least one in a fabric that doesn’t wrinkle too easily, like a cotton blend.” And if you can only buy one or two shirts, avoid anything with French cuffs (they typically require cufflinks), which won’t look right with jeans or twill pants.
Fit tip: “Slim-fit shirts can often be too tight and make you look like a sausage,” Harris cautions. Harris suggests buying “athletic fit” dress shirts by brands like Hugh & Crye, Tommy Hilfiger, and Express, while Scherer says shirts with back pleats (sometimes called darts) are the way to go. “They are helpful for broader shoulders as they give a little and allow the fabric to drape easier.”
No matter what type of shirt you wind up buying, you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your neck when it’s buttoned. You should also have a bit of wiggle room across the chest and at the shoulders.